I rarely bad mouth active duty JAGs who serve as assigned military defense counsel. One reason is that I was one of them. I supervised them. I trained them. Every day there are court-martial being defended where I had some type of impact on either the judge, prosecutor, or defense counsel. In my reserve capacity and even when civilian counsel, I am in many ways still training young military JAGs. I will always say that most active JAGs working as defense counsel are hard-working, competent attorneys. If that is so, then why, Mr. Korody, do you a have a thriving military defense practice as a civilian defense lawyer? That is, why do people pay you a lot of money when they get the JAG lawyer for free?
First, I am a known quantity. You can look at my defense of military members for 15 years. You can review my reviews online. You can read the posts on my blog and see if I know what I am talking about. You can read my book about military trial practice which is published by the leading legal publisher in the world. When you hire me, you get a known quantity – someone who has been through hundreds of courts-martial and discharge boards. I have the knowledge, experience, and skill. Everyone always has a “first.” But you don’t want that “first” to be your livelihood, your military character, and your liberty and freedom. I;d bet you don’t want to be the second or third or tenth court-martial client for an attorney either.
Second, the military will generally only give you a single military defense lawyer. This is surprising because most JAG defense counsel have few cases when compared to state and federal public defenders. Military counsel can act like they are overworked, but that’s often only because of the bureaucratic and administrative responsibilities imposed upon them as military officers. When you hire a civilian defense lawyer like me, you automatically have a team. You, me, and your military defense lawyer. By default your civilian lawyer becomes lead counsel. This has several advantages. First, how often do you see high profile defendants in criminal cases walking into court with just one lawyer? Rarely. They have a team. There is a lead lawyer, often the person with the most experience. Then you have one or two less experienced lawyers who assist the lead lawyer to ensure that every document and pleading in the case are scrutinized and that the case is prepared for trial. Second, more lawyers is always better because the law is about brain power: themes and theories of cases; organization of evidence; knowledge; trial advocacy skills like cross-examination and objections; ability to write. Lawyers, like people, have different skillsets. The more lawyers involved in your case, the more skills that are brought to the table.
Lastly, a civilian military defense lawyer has more independence than a JAG defense lawyer. Civilians often have connections far above the paygrade of the military JAG defense lawyer or are simply more comfortable to write that letter to a flag officer. A civilian defense lawyer is not a peer of the prosecutor and not worried about how the commander will react to a zealous defense. My peers still on active duty are senior staff judge advocates, military judges, and commanding officers. I do not get tense when an O-6 comes into the room.
If you are facing a court-martial and are looking for the best military defense, call Korody Law for a free consultation. We have represented members of the military facing court-martial around the globe. Make the investment in your future and hire Korody Law.